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Canadian shipping applauds “historic international CO2 reduction strategy”

April 20, 2018


Ottawa, Ontario – The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) fully supports the ambitious strategy adopted by the UN International Maritime Organization to reduce global marine shipping’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050.

“An international agreement on this scale is an important first step towards developing a global path to reducing the carbon footprint of shipping. Similar to the airline industry, marine shipping requires a coordinated global response that addresses the important issue of climate change – not a patchwork of regional measures,” says Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.  “Canadian ship operators look forward to working with the Canadian government to investigate carbon reduction technologies and practices that will help to inform the global pathway developed over the next few years. These are ambitious targets that will require governments to help facilitate the development and distribution of new carbon-zero fuels and technologies.”

Marine shipping is already the most carbon efficient way to transport goods. One Great Lakes ship can carry as much cargo as 963 trucks. A study by Research and Traffic Group showed that rail and truck would emit significantly more greenhouse gas emissions per cargo tonne/kilometre if these modes carried the same cargo the same distance as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway fleet.

“Even with this significant environmental advantage, Canadian shipowners are committed to further environmental protection and have been trailblazers in tackling greenhouse gases through programs like Green Marine and adopting new technologies,” says Burrows.

“Canadian shipowners have spent more than $2 billion during the past few years on new vessels and advanced technologies that significantly reduce fuel consumption and corresponding carbon emissions. The level of investment and innovation is really unprecedented. There are already more than 26 new and revamped Canadian-flag ships sailing these waters and a further six coming in the next two years.”

New ships have been coming in every year as part of an extensive modernization of the Canadian fleets. CMC member Canada Steamship Lines currently has six eco vessels in service in the Great Lakes-Seaway.

This week, CMC member Groupe Desgagnés christened the world’s first polar-class, dual-fuel oil/chemical tanker that can be powered by different types of fuel including liquefied natural gas, which substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions along with 99.5 per cent of sulphur oxide emissions. The Desgagnés team overcame a number of major challenges, including integrating the many innovations and new technologies on these vessels into its operations. They developed a maritime LNG distribution network, almost non-existent up to that point, trained a new class of qualified and certified sailors, and created brand new training and certification programs. This achievement required collaboration with various business partners, including Energir, the Montreal Port Authority, and Transport Canada.

CMC member Algoma Central Corporation has also welcomed two new ships in the past month, the Algoma Innovator and the Algoma Sault, both of which consume 45 per cent less fuel per tonne-km resulting in significant carbon emission reductions. Further, Algoma has set a target of 25 per cent GHG reduction by 2025 and is on track to meet that target.  All of Algoma’s Equinox Class vessels are also equipped with exhaust gas scrubbers that remove 97 per cent of sulphur oxide emissions.

Notes to Editors:

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, total CO2 emissions for the international shipping sector are currently about 8% lower than in 2008 despite a 30% increase in maritime trade.  International shipping transports 90% of world goods but generates only an estimated 3% of global carbon emissions.

Last week, the UN International Maritime Organization (and its member countries) agreed to an Interim GHG Strategy that sets the following as aspirational goals as targets based on both intensity (emissions per transport work) and absolute emissions:

1. Carbon intensity of the ship to decline through implementation of further phases of the energy efficiency design index (EEDI) for new ships. It agreed to review with the aim to strengthen the energy efficiency design requirements for ships with the percentage improvement for each phase to be determined for each ship type, as appropriate;

2. To reduce CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050, compared to 2008; and

3. To peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as called for in the Vision as a point on a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals. 

As a result of the IMO agreement, it is expected discussions at IMO to begin in earnest on the development of additional CO2 reduction measures, including those to be implemented before 2023.




About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system's significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.


Media Contact

Julia Fields
Chamber of Marine Commerce